“King Lear” is a play about a powerful king’s gradual descent into madness. Post5 Theater will present their version of this wild Shakespearean production from February 26 to March 19.
Director Rusty Tennant is experienced in theater, having directed contemporary classics for over 25 years. Tennant, however, did not choose King Lear to direct, as it was already chosen by previous leadership of the theater. Nevertheless, Tennant believes it is one of the most famous Shakespearean plays.
“I always regarded ‘Hamlet’ as the greatest play,” Tennant said. “But now that I’m into [“King Lear”], and now that I’m working on this, I’m at the point where I’m considering it to be at least on par with “Hamlet”!”
Tennant has very high hopes for the play and doesn’t see many performance challenges.
“We’re very lucky to get to do what we do, because we love what we do. It is an honor,” Tennant said. “Don’t let the challenges come and let them be the thing that dictate[s] your product. Where I don’t face the challenges, I have an insanely talented cast, top to bottom.”
The lead role of the play, Tobias Anderson as King Lear, is a 50-year veteran to the theater arts; he has worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory, Playmakers Repertory, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts and ACT/Seattle.
Similar to the play, Anderson was also already chosen by previous leadership, but that didn’t change Tennant’s excitement to work with Anderson.
“I hope when I’m 80 that I have the faculty to be able to memorize one of Shakespeare’s biggest roles and perform it with the vivacity and intensity that this man brings every night to rehearsal,” Tennant said.
Along with being able to memorize Lear’s hundreds of lines, Anderson found that he shared some similarities with his role.
“I have two daughters. [King Lear] had three, and I am certainly his age,” Anderson said. “There is one thing I use as a resource for my approach to his role: dementia. There’s another dementia disease called Lewy body—this is what Rusty and I have based this character on. This is where I think he is in life.”
Lewy body is a type of dementia that results in the patient’s loss of reasoning and focus, as well as declining sanity—Anderson believes this is a huge aspect of his practice for the role of King Lear.
Tennant and Anderson are both very passionate about their roles and excited to share their hard work with those interested in expanding their theater art culture.
Tickets are $20, but Post5 Theater hosts “Pay What You Will Sunday” every week and “Pay What You Will Thursday” on the final week of performances.